Do I Matter to You?

When your mate talks about something that you find boring, what do you do? Do you keep doing what you are doing? Interrupt with something you find more interesting? Wait for him/her to take a breathe & then chime in? Or do you make eye contact & actually listen?

In studying couple communication, Dr. John Gottman & his team of researchers observed that partners continually make “bids” for one another’s attention, closeness, and reassurance.

do i matter to you?

These bids were made through comments, questions, glances, and/or gestures.

The couples seemed to be asking, on a regular basis:

Are you there?
Do I matter to you?

Sometimes they got the responses they wanted.

If they didn’t, they tried again.

You’ve watched it happen, right?

It’s most obvious with children.

A few moms are relaxing at the park while their toddlers are playing in the sandbox. One particular mom is engrossed in conversation with her friends, and her 3-year-old tries to get her attention.

If he’s unsuccessful, he doesn’t give up.

If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!

He’ll keep calling her; and if she doesn’t respond, he’ll get closer to her … and louder! He may even resort to attacking her to get her to pay attention to his needs.

Couples communicate like that, too.

If a hello or a smile gets no response, partners intensify their bids.

Like the toddler, they may get louder, even attacking or criticizing.

However, strategies like criticism will naturally elicit a negative response (defensiveness) and launch a negative pattern of interactions that could escalate into a full-blown argument.

Not exactly what you were hoping for, right?

A Word (or Two) About Sarcasm

Sarcasm is a common method of asking for attention without seeming to really need anything. Your needs for attention (and your vulnerability) are hidden behind a screen of purported humor.

Sarcasm is also a very effective way of shooting yourself in the foot. It sends a mixed message. In reality, you’re asking for attention. But the message your partner gets is that he or she is dumb, clumsy, or lacks value — not a great way to get the positive attention you’re really looking for.

When a man’s partner doesn’t respond to or even recognize? his bids for attention, he may simply give up trying.

QUESTION: So what can you do with this information? Get involved in your own research by observing your own behavior.

  • How many times and in what ways did you ask for your partner’s attention today?
  • Did you get the response you wanted?
  • How can you increase the effectiveness of your bids?

How to Cope with Crisis

Have you ever wondered why some couples pull together during a crisis, whereas others are driven apart?

This video will help you discover ways to better face any crisis together.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

When You Love a Broken Man

Is the man you love “a diamond in the rough,” “a work in progress,” or “a piece of work”?

  • Does he shut down?
  • Get angry easily?
  • Disappear for hours at a time?
  • Do you feel like you need to fix him?
When You Love a Broken Man

We don’t always notice at first.

But if we do see red flags, we tend to ignore them with a love-conquers-all attitude.

The truth is, most men are simultaneously healthy & broken (to one degree or another), simply because of the way they were created & have been treated throughout their lives.

It’s called normative developmental trauma.

The Truth (with a capital T) is that The Creator has a deep desire to heal every man’s brokenness – as well as every woman’s pain.

When you love a man – no matter how broken or emotionally healthy he is, you will need an ongoing dose of Divine Wisdom. Here are 3 things to keep in mind as you move forward.

  1. Men usually respond well to women who are healthy, so that’s a great place for you to begin.
  2. If he doesn’t respond well, he may be in a deadly trap that requires more than you can give. He needs Divine Intervention.
  3. Because his woman is also broken, she cannot save him alone. In fact, she may need Divine Intervention, too. Which brings us back to #1.

A Broken Man in Adultery

Sometimes a man goes outside his marriage. For things his Creator intends him to enjoy within his marriage.

Most guys I’ve known who are broken in this way did not set out to have an affair. But with each encounter, he dives deeper into the emotional abyss he is trying to avoid.

That’s how evil works.

Abandonment by a Broken Man

Plagued by fear, shame, and doubt, his autonomic nervous system initiates the fight, flight, or freeze response. Usually, that means a wall of protection for himself.

As a result, you feel left out, left behind, or all alone. Chasing after him only makes matters worse by triggering more fear, shame, and doubt.

An evil trap designed to separate you both from Love.

Addiction for a Broken Man

No man starts doing something harmful because he wants more pain.

At first, the behavior is a way of coping with his painful emotions. Alcohol, drugs, sex/porn, work, or food provide a way of escaping that soon takes over his soul and ruins his life.

As with adultery, each step sends him deeper into the emotional abyss he is trying to avoid.

Yes, that really is how evil works.

Abuse and a Broken Man

Physical, psychological/emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse are attempts to feel in control by controlling someone else.

We most often think of men as the perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse. However, a broken man may be – or may have been – a victim himself. Sometimes he’s both.

Either way, safety is the primary concern for all. Without safety, fear runs rampant.

Which is always the end goal of evil.

So What Does Divine Intervention Look Like?

Our Creator works in many mysterious ways. Sometimes directly. Sometimes through others.

What He does in your situation will depend on how He sees what you need, as well as what your broken man needs.

  • My personal favorite is the way He speaks straight into my heart, and I pray you both hear His voice in that way.
  • Our Creator also intervenes through education, support groups, and counseling, to name a few.

Let’s talk.

I’m here help you find the answers you’re looking for. Sometimes we can find those answers together. Other times, I can help you connect with the resources you need.

You are welcome to schedule a FREE, private 30-minute Zoom consultation. Choose Personal Q & A to check my calendar below for available dates and times.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

More Resources

Additional Article:
When God Answers Your Prayers

ABUSE
Are you in an abusive relationship? Domestic Violence Abuse Questionnaire

ADDICTION
Celebrate Recovery or AA and Al Anon

Books to Help You Get Started …

Affiliate Links to books: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Adultery

You’ve forgiven a thousand times. You’ve bent over backwards to make your partner feel loved and accepted. But the only reward for your loyalty has been anger, indifference, infidelity, or abuse. Your spouse may even be ready to walk out the door.

Do you feel like all is lost? Are you ready to give up? There IS still hope.

Dr. James Dobson’s “tough love” principles have proven to be uniquely valuable and effective.

Unlike most approaches to marriage crisis, the strategy in this groundbreaking classic does not require the willing cooperation of both spouses.


Adultery

Written by respected pastor and marriage counselor Dave Carder, this revised and expanded version of Torn Asunder sorts through the factors that contribute to infidelity and then maps out a recovery process for both partners. With compassion and wisdom rooted in the Bible, Carder offers insight for the victims of adultery, the perpetrators, and those who seek to help hurting couples.

Pastor Dave & Ronnie

Abandonment

When doors slam and angry words fly, when things just aren’t working out, and even when your spouse has destroyed your trust, there is still hope.

If you feel like your marriage is near the breaking point, or even if you’ve already separated, Gary Chapman will show you how you can give your marriage one more try.

Dr. Gary Chapman

Abandonment

Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.

Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God.

In It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor.


Addiction

The wreckage of addiction lies scattered around too many people–from the one who is or was addicted to those in relationship with that person.

Age-old culprits of drugs, alcohol, and gambling are joined by newer addictions, such as food, prescription medication, shopping, pornography, and technology.

Left unaddressed, addiction devastates lives now and makes it difficult to see a positive way forward.


Abuse

Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or lied to? Are you the focus of intense, violent, and irrational rages? Do you feel you are ‘walking on eggshells’ to avoid the next confrontation? If the answer is ‘yes,’ someone you care about may have borderline personality disorder (BPD)—a mood disorder that causes negative self-image, emotional instability, and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.

Stop Walking on Eggshells has already helped more than a million people with friends and family members suffering from BPD understand this difficult disorder, set boundaries, and help their loved ones stop relying on dangerous BPD behaviors.


Abuse

The numbers of males abused in childhood are sometimes listed as low as 5 percent or as high as 33 percent.

Though statistics are controversial, no one disputes the fact that childhood abuse is a continuing problem―or that such abuse can have devastating effects on future relationships.

For all women who know and love a survivor of sexual assault, best-selling author Cecil Murphey has penned an honest and forthright book about surviving―and thriving―despite past abuses.

(NOTE: Much of this applies to any type of abuse he endured.)